Angling: Mellors sets new record for double-figure barbel

I received a surprise call the other night, and I have to say what a breath of fresh air listening to one highly regarded specialist angler compliment and applaud the achievements of another.

Tuesday, 15th November 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:50 pm
Duncan Mellors

Duncan Mellors has just achieved a record having caught double-figure barbel from eight different Yorkshire rivers.

Since 1986 he has been a fanatical barbel angler and, after the first two seasons, became fixated with the capture of Yorkshire doubles (fish weighing 10lb or more).

“It was widely acknowledged at the time (the late 80s) that apart from rare, notable exceptions, catching such fish could only be achieved in two of Yorkshire’s barbel rivers, the Derwent or Swale,” said Mellors.

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“By the mid-to-late-90s, occasional doubles were caught from the Ouse and thereafter Wharfe doubles began to be reported. That situation has now changed beyond recognition.”

For those Yorkshire barbel anglers who started barbel fishing after the year 2000, it would be difficult to believe how few doubles were caught each season and impossible to convey how difficult it was to catch such fish 10 years earlier.

Now, of the 60-plus Yorkshire rivers, at least 29 hold barbel and 15 of these have already produced doubles. In Mellors’ opinion, predators permitting, Yorkshire has it all for future barbel anglers. For Mellors it began in August 1999 when he caught a fish of 10lb 8oz from the Ouse. This was the second river he’d caught doubles from, the first being from the Swale two years previously.

However, he’d pondered many times about catching doubles from ‘the Six’, these being the Ouse and its five main tributaries but now it was feasible and he declared his intention at a Barbel Catcher’s club meeting in 1999. The concept was born.

Since then he has caught barbel from 12 Yorkshire rivers and had some gruelling campaigns, steering clear of certain venues, trying to avoid recapturing fish already caught by other anglers.

In 2003 he became the first to capture doubles from four different Yorkshire rivers with a double from the Wharfe, a target he had aimed at for years.

This year, 2016, after 30 years of barbel fishing, he landed a 12lb 1oz fish from the river Dearne, bringing his tally to doubles from eight different Yorkshire rivers: the Swale, Ouse, Derwent, Wharfe, Ure, Nidd, Tees and Dearne.

The Tees fish was caught from a very carefully researched venue within the Yorkshire boundary! To my knowledge and that of a number of Yorkshire barbel anglers, this has not been done before.

“The journey is better than the arrival,” added Mellors. “On my journey I have fished for barbel on 22 rivers within Yorkshire, travelling thousands of miles to dozens of venues and every time the anticipation doesn’t diminish at all. I rarely sleep well the night before fishing – long may it be so!”

All signs are looking good for the winter purists, meanwhile, with the Ure at Aldwark and upper Ouse at Linton producing good match and pleasure catches of roach and dace.

Double-figure weights are falling to long rod or bolo tactics from around the boat pegs upstream of the bridge, and light feeder tackle and maggot producing a bite a chuck from downstream pegs around the 250s.

Keep your eyes on the river-level charts, anywhere within 18 inches of normal summer level and the sport could be brilliant.


Leeds & District Aldwark Bridge: 1, C Turbitt 11-10; 2, T Hewson 11-08; 3, P Barron 9-10; 4 A Hampson 8-12.

Riverfest Qualifier Hunters/Linton: 1, B Cranmer 19-14 (inc 10-06 barbel); 2, J Mills 11-02; 3, R Bonas 9-08; 4, S Tate 8-00.

Tony Burdett Memorial Hayfield Lakes: 1, O Scotthorne 111-04; 2, S Pearson 66-02; 3, R Bennett 61-08; 4, M Firth 60-12.

Aire Calder Canal Heck: 1, D Armitage 13-06; 2, D Grace 11-02; 3, P Barron 11-06; 4, G Bass 10-11.

Mirfield AC River Calder Altofts: 1, C Burton 18-10; 2, C Turbitt 15-10; 3, P Clark 15-06; 4, M Hughes 13-14.

BSR Bobco Moor Monkton Cyprio: 1, S Rodgers 83-12; 2, J Wake 80-02; 3, A Barker 75-12; 4, B Rodgers 57-08.

JT Rodgers Brafferton: 1, K Richardson 83-04; 2, I Jordan 76-04; 3, M Fryer 38-12.

Kippax Park Winter: 1, A Limbert 68-08; 2, M Bailey 53-08; 3, S Raper 32-12.

Kippax Park Lapwing Midweek: 1, B Rymer 64-10; 2, A Broomhead 62-08; 3, N Rymer 46-12.

Moor Monkton Pool Rover: 1, P Gallagher 133-09; 2, G Wright 91-02; 3, G Watson 77-02.

Oaks at Sessay Cedar: 1, C Hall 60-03; 2, P Brunyee 37-14; 3, R Minikin 33-07.

Angel Lakes Open Lookout: 1, David Hurbert 47-07; 2, John Nelson 44-10; 3, John Dryden 42-14.

Viking Saturday Open (Hawk): 1, J Slaughter 92-01; 2, R Scott 42-11; 3, L Tones 37-09; 4, T Bullass 35-07.

Fryston AC Winter League (Viking Deer): 1, S Varley 57-13; 2, R Copley 56-09; 3, S Lupton 28-02; 4, R Evans 24-15.

Rothwell WMC AC (Viking Hawk): 1, D Crampton 52-12; 2, C Parker 40-10; 3, M Redlson 36-08; 4, J Crampton 36-02.

Match Diary


Viking Saturday Open: Deer Pond, 24 pegs, £16, contact 01405 785206.

Kippax Park: Winter League started November 5 through to March, £10 entry, £20 pools, contact 07967000746.

Poppleton Saturday Open: pools, £15, draw cafe 10am, contact Roger 01904737279.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscar’s, draw 8.30am, contact 01924 892251.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Oaks at Sessay: 50 pegs, tickets £17, contact 01845 501321.

Langwith Lakes: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01904 431874.

Moorfields Farm: 54 pegs, tickets £16, contact 07710817150.

Fleets Dam: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01226 292579.

Birkwood Farm: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01132 80609.

Tollerton Ponds: Open Match all ages, (Kingfisher 20 pegs, Coot 18 pegs, Heron 32 pegs), contact 01347 838115.


Leeds DASA: Moor Monkton Pools, Winter League, started November 13 through to March, £10 entry, pools £20, contact 07967000746.

Leeds & Liverpool: Kirkstall, contact Roger Movley 01132 772215.

Listerhills: Leeds & Liverpool Canal, contact Eddie Harrison 07518721051.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Oaks at Sessay: 50 pegs, tickets £17, contact 01845 501321.

Langwith Lakes: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01904 431874.

Oak Tree Leisure: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01347 810686.

Poppleton Sunday Open: 50 pegs, draw 11am Cafe, contact 07425 146677.


Woodlands: Over-50s, 30 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01845 520110.

Langwith Lakes: Over-60s, 30 pegs, tickets £10, contact 01904 431874.

Tollerton Ponds: Over-50s, tickets £16, contact 01347 838115.


Kippax Park: Over-50s, draw 10am, tickets £10, contact 07967000746.


Leeds & District: Moor Monkton Pools, Draw 10.00 am, contact 07967000746

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscar’s, draw 8.30am, contact 01924 892251.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Fleets Dam: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01226 292579.

Tollerton Ponds: open match, all ages, contact 01347 838115.